A Better Driver Experience to Support Retention

Jan
24

Posted On Jan 24, 2018

A Better Driver Experience to Support Retention

Driver Turnover and Shortage

From an operational standpoint, the problem of driver turnover is too costly to ignore. In “Examining Driver Turnover and Retention in the Trucking Industry” by Harrison and Pierce, the average cost of losing one driver was estimated between $5,000 and $8,000. Fleet Owner found that the average driver turnover for the first three months of 2017 was 74% in large fleets.

If each driver turnover costs you $5,000 and you employ 1,000 drivers, the driver turnover rate for three months alone could cost you $3,700,000. In addition to high turnover rates, sources like ATA projects driver shortages could continue to rise, meaning that finding drivers to replace those who leave could become increasingly difficult.

Some experts in the trucking industry have suggested that driver turnover is often treated as “an accepted obstacle and expense,” but it doesn’t have to be that way.  While driver turnover can seem overwhelming, there is a simple solution to combat it: a better relationship between supervisors and drivers.  Understanding drivers’ daily obstacles and addressing those issues is the first place to begin when building a stronger relationship.

Vibration and the Driver Experience

Because drivers are on the road all day long, they want a comfortable driving experience. When a driver tells you a vehicle is vibrating, you know it’s time to check the vehicle for any possible misalignments or damaged equipment.  But it’s important to address the sources of vibrations for both your drivers’ safety and comfort – because vibrations are not only distracting; they’re a dangerous risk factor for long-term back pain.

When there is a cause of vibration within the truck, the vibrations affect the driver constantly, and can cause Whole Body Vibration (WBV).  The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries found that drivers exposed to WBV are at a high risk for developing chronic lower back pain and injuries. (Whole Body Vibration refers to the tremors felt throughout the body when it is resting or sitting against a vibrating surface.) The higher the frequency and amplitude of the vibration, the stronger the tremors are in the human body, which create greater back problems as the vertebrae get worn and dislocated.

But it’s not just the pain of unattended vibrations in the vehicle that will affect the drivers: it’s the perception that you don’t care about their comfort. Taking the time to safeguard your drivers against WBV communicates to them that you care; this can change the workplace environment from physically and emotionally stressful to supportive and comfortable.

Listening to your drivers and giving them a smooth, painless ride will go a long way towards retaining your drivers and building an experienced, loyal team.

Addressing Vibrations and Driver Comfort

Vehicle vibration can have a wide variety of causes. From a problem with the frame’s alignment to a crack in the wheel, it’s important to get to the root cause of your vibration. Taking the vehicle for a test drive and seeing when and how the vibration starts can help.

A common source of vibration is imbalanced tires. When your tires aren’t balanced, they wear unevenly, causing flat spots in the tread and affecting the tires’ rotation. These uneven surfaces will bounce along the road and send vibrations through the frame of the vehicle and up to the driver’s seat, leading to the WBV, back problems, and an unhappy driver. Getting your tires balanced correctly can protect your drivers from the pain associated with WBV – showing them you care.

If you believe you have a vibration issue sourced at the wheel-end, let our experts help!  Contact us today and we can help you find a solution.

You can find this and similar articles in:   

Best Practices, Driver Retention

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